One of my many downfalls as a mother is that it is terribly hard for me to resist buying toys for Sean no good reason.
If I were to be introspective about this weakness of mine, it’s probably because I didn’t have much growing up and I’m feeding my inner-poor child. And although I believe there is tremendous character-building value in having less rather than more, being able to buy unexpected no-good-reason gifts for my child gives me great joy. It delights me. And I suppose that could be bad, but dang, it feels good. If Sean were an ungrateful sort, it would stop. But so far, that has not been the case. He is extremely appreciative and that is the sweet cherry atop the cake of indulgence.
Therefore, anytime I’m out shopping I cruise through the toy aisles looking to see what’s new and/or marked down. It’s a sickness and I cannot stop myself.
Last month when I was in the TJMaxx toy aisle, I noticed a Melissa & Doug’s boxed set of musical instruments. It had 20 different pieces including a triangle! As I stood in the toy aisle salivating over the 20 tiny instruments under the taut cellophane, I thought back to Mrs. Kelly’s kindergarten class of 1965. On several occasions, she gave each of the children a musical instrument, which we played as we marched around the room. I always wanted the triangle, but I never seemed to get it, no matter how high I raised my hand. Consequently, I have spent the last 43 years dreaming of playing the triangle. Even given that compelling reason and TJ’s max to the minimum prices, Melissa and Doug wanted more for this box of musical goodness than I was willing to pay, so I put it back.
But then last week I was in TJMaxx, trolling the toy aisle – again — and the little box of musical instruments was on sale for $20! What could I do? It was like God was saying “I really want you to have this.” And who am I not to do God’s will? So I bought it.
Later that evening, when I presented it to Sean, he squealed with delight while flapping his arms and hopping on one foot like some sort of psychotic tropical bird. “I love it!” he said breathlessly, “I’ve wanted this since I was little!”
He ripped away the cellophane and then I spent the next 35 minutes working feverishly to free each of the 20 pieces from twist tie shackles while he stood beside me hopping from foot to foot, panting “Hurry Mom! Hurry!”
He gleefully tried out each instrument as it was freed and when he got to the triangle, he marched around the room clanging it with great vigor and joy. My heart overflowed to see him with that triangle. At that moment, all my triangle dreams were fulfilled in him. I told him the story of how when I was in kindergarten, I really wanted to play the triangle but never got the turn.
He stopped and cocked his head, slightly furrowing his brow with concern. Then he handed me the triangle.
“Here Mom,” he said. “Since you never got to have the triangle I want you to have it.”
I just looked at him standing there offering me his triangle.
I laughed and sighed all at once. It was just so funny and sincere and compassionate and selfless and beyond what any four-year-old should think to do. All at the same time. I thought about how in just four years he has managed to dissolve 48 years of hurts and disappointments. And then I sighed again.
I closed my eyes and shook my head in an effort to send away the salty tears that were gathering behind my eyes.
Then I took the triangle and clanged it with great vigor and joy and joined the parade around the den.